Thomas Banyacya Jr lives and works in Kykotsmovi Village, Third Mesa in Hopi, Arizona where he creates his art and jewelry. Thomas Jr has been creating jewelry since his early twenties. One of the most accomplished contemporary Hopi artists, he combines ancient design motifs and modern forms creating sculptural designs that are timeless and classic art that is worn. Thomas' work is owned by collectors worldwide.
Thomas Jr uses the tufa casting method in which designs are first carved in soft pumice-like molds from which each piece is individually cast after which it is formed and then finished and polished. Thomas' method is unashamedly low-tech and is more akin to sculpting than conventional jewelry fabrication. Most of his pieces are cast in one single piece and then formed.
Thomas was born October 8, 1949 in the Winslow Indian Hospital. His parents are Thomas Sr. and Fermina Banyacya. Thomas has two older sisters and two younger brothers that are now deceased in the early 2000’s. He is the only one that created jewelry in the family. He went to NAU and had a fellowship to USC in science, but jewelry is his life despite his science background. Thomas was self taught after his experience with creating machinery.
He has traveled all over the world including time in Geneva where he was a facilitator for “The Participation of Indigenous People Attending the Earth Summit” which was in Rio de Janeiro. He has never shown his jewelry formally, but wherever he traveled his jewelry would sell. In his spare time, Thomas likes to write about all the politics his father was involved in. He is highly respected, and is considered an Elder in his Village.